Fishing Regulations - The Fisherman

Fishing Regulations

Fishing rules and regulations seem to change with the tide these days, and they can vary greatly from state to state. That’s why The Fisherman posts the current size and bag limits, seasons and licensing information covering all your favorite local species. Before heading out, check here for a state-by-state breakdown of current restrictions to ensure you’ll be in compliance no matter how, when or where you fish.

Connecticut

BLACK SEA BASS:

Private Vessel/Shore: May 19 – December 1, 5-fish bag limit, 16-inch minimum.

For-Hire Bonus: September 1 – December 31, 7-fish bag limit, 16-inch minimum.

BLACKFISH/TAUTOG: April 1 – April 30, July 1 – August 31, 2-fish bag limit. October 10 to November 28, inclusive, 3-fish bag limit. 16-inch minimum length.

BLUEFISH: No closed season or size limit; 3-fish bag limit (including ‘snappers’) private boat/shore-bound; 5-fish bag limit onboard for-hire boats.

FLUKE: May 1 to October 9, 4-fish bag limit, 18.5-inch minimum size.

PORGY/SCUP:

Private Vessel/Shore (excluding enhanced opportunity locations): No closed season, 30-fish bag limit, 10-inch minimum.

For-Hire Bonus: September 1 – October 31, 50-fish bag limit, 10-inch minimum.

STRIPED BASS: No closed season, 1 fish, 28 – less than 35 inches. Circle hook required when fishing with natural bait (all waters).

WEAKFISH: No closed season, 1-fish bag limit, 16-inch minimum.

WHITE PERCH: No closed season, 30-fish bag limit, 7-inch minimum.

WINTER FLOUNDER: April 1 – December 31, 2-fish bag limit, 12-inch minimum.

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Delaware

Black Sea Bass: 13 inches, open 5/15-12/11 (15 fish).

Bluefish: No minimum size, 3/angler private, 5/angler aboard for-hire trips. No closed season.

Croaker: 8″ minimum size, no creel limit, no closed season.

Porgy: 9″ minimum size, 50/angler, no closed season.

Red Drum: 20-27″ slot size, 5/angler, no closed season.

Scup (Porgy): 8″ minimum size, 50/angler, no closed season.

Spanish Mackerel: 14″ minimum size, 10/angler, no closed season.

Spotted Seatrout: 12″ minimum size, No creel limit, no closed season.

Striped Bass: One fish, 28 to 35 inches, except in Delaware Bay, River and its tributaries from 7/1-8/31 during which time angler limit is one fish from 20 to 25 inches during ‘summer slot’ season. No harvest permitted from spawning grounds from 4/1-5/31.

Summer Flounder: 16″ minimum size, 4/angler, No Closed Season.

Tautog: 16-inch minimum, 4 fish from 1/1-5/15 & 7/1-12/31.

Weakfish: 13″ minimum size, 1/angler, no closed season.

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Maryland

Black Sea Bass: May 15-Dec.31 12.5 inches 15 fish.

Bluefish: 8″ minimum size, 10/angler, no closed season.

Croaker: 9″ minimum size, limit 25/angler, no closed season.

Flounder: Four fish at 16-1/2 inches per person/day.

Herring: Moratorium.

Red Drum: 18″ – 27″ slot limit, 1/angler, no closed season.

Spanish Mackerel: 14″ minimum size, 15/angler, no closed season.

Striped Bass: The Maryland DNR has set the 2020 spring striped bass season to ban the catch and release season on the Susquehanna Flats. The Trophy Season will begin on May 1 with a one-fish bag limit and a 35-inch size limit. New coastal regulations TBD as of March 1, 2020.

Tautog: January 1–May 15, 4 fish/person/day; July 1–October 31, 2 fish/person/day; and November 1–December 31, 4 fish/person/day.

Weakfish: 13″ minimum size, 1/angler, no closed season.

White Perch: No minimum size, no creel limit, no closed season.

Yellow Perch: 9″ minimum size, 10 per day per person, no closed season.

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Massachusetts

BLACK SEA BASS: May 21 – September 4, 4-fish bag limit, 16-inch minimum.

BLACKFISH/TAUTOG: April 1 – May 31, 3-fish bag limit; June 1 – July 31, 1-fish bag limit; August 1 – October 14, 3-fish bag limit; October 15 – December 31, 5-fish bag limit; 16-inch minimum length. Maximum per vessel possession limit is 10 fish regardless of number of anglers onboard.

BLUEFISH: No closed season or size limit; 3-fish bag limit (including ‘snappers’) private boat/shore-bound; 5-fish bag limit onboard for-hire boats.

COD:

NORTH OF CAPE COD: Private Angler: April 1 – April 14, September 15 – 30, 1-fish bag limit, 21-inch minimum.

SOUTH OF CAPE COD: Private Angler: no closed season, 10-fish bag limit, 21-inch minimum.

FLUKE: May 21 – September 29, 5-fish bag limit, 16.5-inch minimum.

HADDOCK:

NORTH OF CAPE COD: January 1- February 28, April 1 – December 31, 15-fish fish bag limit, 17-inch minimum.

SOUTH OF CAPE COD: No closed season, no bag limit, 18-inch minimum.

POLLOCK: No closed season, bag limit or minimum size.

PORGY/SCUP:

Private vessel/shore: No closed season, 30-fish bag limit, 10-inch minimum, 150 fish/vessel limit with 5 or more anglers onboard.

For-Hire Bonus: May 1 – June 30, 50-fish bag limit, 10-inch minimum.

STRIPED BASS: No closed season, 1 fish, 28 – less than 35 inches. Circle hook required when fishing with natural bait (all waters).

WEAKFISH: No closed season, 1-fish bag limit, 16-inch minimum.

WHITE PERCH: No closed season, 25-fish bag limit, 8-inch minimum.

WINTER FLOUNDER:

NORTH OF CAPE COD: No closed season, 8-fish bag limit, 12-inch minimum.

SOUTH & EAST OF CAPE COD: March 1 – December 31, 2-fish bag limit, 12-inch minimum.

Massachusetts Fishing License 

New Jersey

Black Drum: 16″ minimum size, 3/angler, no closed season.

Black Sea Bass: 13” minimum open 5/17-6/19 (10 fish); 13” minimum open 7/1-8/31 (2 fish); 13” minimum open 10/7-10/26 (10 fish); 13″ minimum open 11/1-12/31 (15 fish).  Approved at April 7, 2022 meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council.  

Blue Crab: 3″ minimum size for peeler/shedder 3-1/2″ for for soft shell 4-1/2″ hard shell Limit one bushel.

Bluefish: No minimum size, 3/angler private, 5/angler aboard for-hire trips. No closed season.

Cobia: 37″ minimum size, 1/angler, 1/per vessel. No closed season.

Cod & Haddock: 21″ minimum size, no creel limit, no closed season.

NOTE: Anglers aboard federally permitted party or charter vessels may possess any number of Atlantic cod, consistent with federal rules.

King Mackerel: 23″ minimum size, 3/angler, no closed season.

Pollock: 19″ minimum size, no creel limit, no closed season.

Porgy: 10″minimum size, 50/angler, no closed season.  Approved at April 7, 2022 meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council.  

Red Drum: 18″-27″ slot size, 1/angler, no closed season.

Spanish Mackerel: 14″ minimum size, 10/angler, no closed season.

Striped Bass: One fish from 28 inches to less than 38 inches. No closed season 0-3 miles from shore; Delaware River from Trenton to Salem River open 3/1-3/31 and from 6/1-12/31; all other marine waters open 3/1-12/31. Circle hook required when fishing natural bait. For Striped Bass Bonus Program go to www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bonusbas.htm.

Summer Flounder: open May 2 – Sept 27, three fish bag with two fish from 17″ to 17.99″ and one at 18″ (17” minimum size, 3/angler west of COLREGS on Delaware Bay; 16” minimum size, 2/angler at IBSP).  Approved at April 7, 2022 meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council.  

Tautog: 15″ minimum size, January 1 – February 28 (4 fish), April 1 – April 30 (4 fish), Aug 1 – Nov. 15 (1 fish) and November 16- December 31 (5 fish).

Weakfish: 13″ minimum size, 1/angler, no closed season.

Winter Flounder: 12″ minimum size, 2/angler, Mar. 1- Dec 31.

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New York

American Shad: Moratorium.

Atlantic Sturgeon: Moratorium.

Black Sea Bass: 16″ minimum size; 3/angler, June 23 – Aug 31; 6/angler, Sept 1 – Dec 31.

Blue Crab: Minimum shell width (spike to spike tip) 4.5″” hard shell, 3-1/2″ soft shell, 3″ peeler/shedder, 50 creel limit, no closed season; All other crab species: no minimum size, 50 creel limit, no closed season.

Bluefish: No minimum size, 3 fish bag limit for recreational / 5 fish for anglers on for-hire boats, no closed season.

Cod: 22″ minimum size, 10/angler, no closed season;

NOTE: Anglers aboard federally permitted party or charter vessels may possess any number of Atlantic cod, consistent with federal rules.

Fluke (Summer Flounder): 18.5 ” minimum size, 4/angler, May 1 – October 9.

Haddock: 18″ minimum size, no creel limit, no closed season.

Hickory Shad: No minimum size, 5/angler, no closed season.

Monkfish (goosefish): 17″ minimum size(11″ tail length,) no creel limit, no closed season.

Oyster Toadfish: 10″ minimum size, 3/angler, no closed season.

Pollock: 19″ minimum size, no creel limit, no closed season.

Porgy (Scup): 10″ minimum size, open all year, 30/angler, charter and open boat bag limit expands to 50/angler from September 1 – October 31.

Red Drum: No minimum size, 27″ maximum size, no creel limit, no closed season.

Spanish Mackerel: 14″ minimum size, 15/angler, no closed season.

Striped Bass: Marine: 28 to 35 inch slot, 1 fish per person, April 15 – December 15.

Hudson River north of George Washington Bridge: 1 fish per person 18 to 28 inches, April 1 – November 30.

Tautog (Blackfish): 16″ minimum size.

LI Sound: April 1-30, 2 fish / October 11 – December 9, 3 fish.

NY Bight: April 1-30, 2 fish / October 15 – December 22, 4 fish.

Weakfish:16″ minimum size (10″ filleted/12″ dressed,) 1/angler, no closed season.

Winter Flounder: 12″ minimum size, 2/angler, April 1 – May 30.

Yellowtail Flounder: 13″ minimum size, no creel limit, no closed season.

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Rhode Island

BLACK SEA BASS: May 22 – August 31, 2-fish bag limit, 16-inch minimum. September 1 – December 31, 3-fish bag limit, 16-inch minimum size. Party/Charter: June 18 to August 31 2fish bag limit, September 1 to December 31, 6-fish bag limit (same minimum size)

BLACKFISH/TAUTOG: April 1 to May 31, 3 fish per person per day. June 1 to July 31 – blackfishing will be closed. August 1 through October 14, 3 fish per angler per day. October 15 through December 31, 5 fish per person, per day. Minimum size of 16 inches, only one fish per limit may be of 21 inches or greater and a 10 fish maximum per vessel during all open periods.

BLUEFISH: No closed season or size limit; 3-fish bag limit (including ‘snappers’) private boat/shore-bound; 5-fish bag limit onboard for-hire boats.

COD: No closed season, 10-fish bag limit, 21-inch minimum.

FLUKE: May 3 – December 31, 4-fish bag limit, 18-inch minimum.

POLLOCK: No closed season, no bag limit, 19-inch minimum.

PORGY/SCUP:

Private Angler/Shore: No closed season, 30-fish bag limit, 10-inch minimum length.

Party boat/for-hire bonus: September 1 -October 31, 50-fish bag limit, 10-inch minimum length.

STRIPED BASS: No closed season, 1 fish, 28 – less than 35 inches. Circle hook required when fishing with natural bait (all waters).

WEAKFISH: No closed season, 1-fish bag limit, 16-inch minimum.

WINTER FLOUNDER: March 1 – December 31, 2-fish bag limit, 12-inch minimum.

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